OHS Matters: Workplace COVIDSafe Plan


“Hi, I just want to know if, on returning to our workplace, managers can elect NOT to wear masks under “COVID-normal” ops? I do and was never asked not to, just the same, is the law not strong on this?”


What you need to do is look at the workplace COVIDSafe plan - as the HSR you should have been involved/consulted in its preparation and implementation. Your employer has a duty to consult with you under section 35 of the Act.

The wearing of masks must be in the COVIDSafe plan – so you need to check for this. At the moment the advice from government (DHHS) is as follows:

Do I have to wear a fitted face mask while working?

Yes, you have to wear a fitted face mask unless you meet one of the reasons for exemptions, such as a medical condition.

This is taken from the DHHS page on the wearing of masks.
So, your employer should be advising all employees that this is the requirement, and checking those who say they meet the criteria for an exemption. It also means perhaps taking other measures to protect other workers who ARE wearing masks. However, if someone is on their own in an office, then they don’t need to wear the mask.

In addition, there are some circumstances where a person with a medical condition which makes it difficult to wear a mask is excused from doing so. This should also be covered in the COVIDSafe plan – and may mean special arrangements for these workers.

You have the right to raise this with your employer under s73 of the Act. If you have issues, then contact your union for further advice and assistance.